Dorm Room Essentials \\ © Exactostock\SuperStock(© Exactostock\SuperStock)

Going off to college is an awesome thing, whether you're a freshman or returning for your final year. And while not all students live on campus, many do call a dormitory home, and autumn means move-in time. How to transform this typically plain and cramped space into something livable and loveable? Put space-saving storage solutions to work for you, add some personality to the place with budget décor items, and make sure you have the basics for both comfort and curriculum.

Studying: Work of Smart

Get serious about your scholastics with dorm-room must-haves that help you cram for finals or ace assignments. Desk and task lamps light your workspace, while clip-on bedside or book lights mean you won't disturb sleeping roomies. A bed rest pillow and lap desk morph your sleeping area into an extra (and sometimes much needed) study space, and noise-cancelling headphones block out clatter when you need to concentrate. You'll want to stock up on school supply basics (pens, notebooks and the like), but high-tech items such as flash drives, computer locks and a good basic printer are becoming school year essentials.

Sleeping: Snooze Clues

Turn that bare and basic dorm bed into something a little more comfortable. First on? A mattress pad, as we've never heard of a dorm bed that couldn't use an extra layer of cushioning. Sheet sets don't need to be fancy: Bed-in-a-bag bundles take care of the fundamentals in one fell swoop. An extra comforter may be called for in colder climes, but choose synthetic down alternatives over more expensive (and harder to clean) genuine down. (That goes for your pillow, too.) Consider a set of blackout curtains to help you sleep, and don't forget an alarm clock to wake you back up again.